Media planning helps you place ads that really hit the mark

Advertising measures cost money. If you want to make sure your money is working hard for you, we recommend media planning. Major brands like Mars understand that and are investing heavily in planning for success.

Media planning delivers better, more efficient, and more targeted advertising
Image: © John Schnobrich / Unsplash

How does media planning work?

Mars hit the headlines in February 2022 with its decision to not only continue its partnership with MediaCom, but also to actually expand it. The agency has already handled the global media planning for the FMCG giant since 2015 and the new contract will run until 2025.


Customers are bombarded with a flood of advertising messages every day. Mars and many other successful brands know that making sure your advertising stands out from the rest means designing it to be better, more cost-efficient, and – above all – more targeted, not merely producing more and more advertising. And that is where media planning comes in.


Media planning is part of a company’s advertising strategy. It involves choosing suitable advertising media and materials to achieve predefined advertising goals.

Identifying your target group is crucial. You will only get maximum return on your advertising if your advertising messages actually reach your desired audience.

Media planning: Strategy first, then planning

Since media planning is part of your advertising strategy, you can base it on key data that you have already collected. You are familiar with your company, the market, and the competition, and you have already used this data to create your advertising messages, identify your target group, and set your budget. Now you can start with the actual media planning and choose suitable advertising materials and media.


Many marketers struggle with choosing the right advertising media, as the rapid growth in online media means the choices appear to be endless.

Start by asking yourself which advertising medium will let you communicate your advertising messages in the optimal way, actually reach your target group, and best represent your company?

Next, start to narrow down your selection by choosing a group of advertising media – Internet, TV, or print, for example – and then pick a specific advertising medium from within this group.

Media control

As cost-efficiency is also a key factor in successful media planning, you need to assess the advertising measures – either during the planning phase or after, but at the latest when the measures are implemented. Marketers should ideally use the following KPIs (key performance indicators) for this:


  • Gross and net reach: All contacts generated via one or more advertising media in a campaign (gross) versus people reached (one-time contact) via one or more advertising media (net).
  • CPM (cost per thousand or per mile): The cost of reaching 1,000 contacts.
  • GRP (gross rating product): This refers to the advertising impact, which is calculated from the percentage relationship between the size of the target group and the contacts reached.
  • OTS (opportunity to see): The average number of contacts per person reached; this indicates the attention generated by the advertising measure.
  • CPC (cost per click): Cost of one click on the displayed ad; particularly interesting for social media or search engine advertising.
  • CPL (cost per lead): Cost for one lead; also interesting for online advertising.

How to make your media planning a success

The wide range of media now available to marketers for advertising campaigns has opened up a variety of options, but will this development definitely allow marketers to reach even more diverse target groups than before? Media planning is a useful way to maintain an overview of potential advertising campaigns and work systematically toward your goal.


To sum up, successful media planning involves answering the following essential questions:

Advertising media:

  • What group(s) of advertising media are best suited for reaching my target group?
  • What advertising medium from that group should I use?
  • Does it make sense to use a mix of media to achieve an even wider reach for my advertising messages?


Advertising materials:

  • Which advertising materials are the best way to deliver my advertising content?
  • What form and size of these advertising materials should I use (e.g. length of clips, ad size)?
  • How can I design the advertising materials to appeal to my target group and present my company in the right light?



  • What is my budget?
  • How should I use my budget to maximize results?
  • How much of my budget should be spent on which advertising media from the choice available?
  • What should I do if I don’t have enough budget (can I potentially adjust my advertising goals or strategy, or choose a different advertising medium)?



  • How often should my target group see the advertising?
  • What is the display period for the advertising?
  • How many advertising contacts should be established with the target group?

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